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Roads chief "should quit over the bus lane fiasco"
9:02am Monday 13th January 2014 in News
ROADS boss Rodney Bass should resign following the Colchester bus lane fiasco, motorists have said.
Essex County Council agreed to waive fines totalling £1million handed to users of Colchester’s new bus lanes.
Thousands of motorists said they had no idea of the restrictions on going up North Hill and turning from the High Street into Queen Street.
Many did not realise the bus lanes, introduced in October after a botched trial in the spring, had returned.
O t h e r s claimed the limited number of signs and road markings, which are being upgraded, were easily missed.
Now Mark Cole, of Colchester and District Driving Instructors Association, has described the U-turn as a “hollow victory” and has set up a petition on www.change.org He said: “We feel Essex County Council Highways has lost control of road maintenance in the county.
“For this we hold Mr Bass entirely responsible and call on him to resign.
“Given the small victory in central Colchester, it would be naive and foolish to believe all is well with our roads.”
Clive Woolgar, who runs Five Sevens taxi firm, in Osborne Street, echoed Mr Cole’s call.
Despite taxis being allowed to use bus lanes, the firm has received hundreds of penalty notices, most of which relate to the bus lane from High Street into Queen Street.
He said: “This whole thing has been a massive joke.
“ S o m e b o d y, somewhere hasn’t done their job properly and you can bet the buck won’t rest with the people at the top, but it should.
“I would guess it will be passed on and on.
“We’re a taxi firm and we’ve had about 150 we shouldn’t have had. Imagine how many other people have had them incorrectly?
“It shows the cameras aren’t working correctly.
“ A t one stage, we thought about decorating the office with all the tickets, but instead I now have a ready-made stick-on label, saying ‘return to sender’.
“I’m not surprised it’s come to this. It’s been just terrible.”
Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell has called for residents to have patience with Mr Bass, who took up the roads role last year.
He said: “It is much better to give credit to Mr Bass for taking the very sensible decision he has over waiving the bus lane fines.
“As for potholes and street lights, these are other issues and very important ones, but let’s not confuse one thing with another two.
“Instead, let’s work with Mr Bass to achieve sensible outcomes to the other two matters as well.”
The amnesty on bus lane fines lasts until midnight tomorrow.
Mr Bass responded: “I call upon Mark Cole and his driving instructors to focus their efforts in a positive way by ensuring young drivers are taught to drive properly, safely, and showing courtesy to other road users so the deaths and serious injuries on Essex roads continue to fall – rather than making cheap political points which neither have any basis nor logic.”
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